Build a South Bay Scooter


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  • Pub No.: 5861
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by Charles R. Meyer

LOA 13 ft to 16 ft., BEAM 4 ft to 6 ft.

Originally designed by the Coast Guard as an amphibian, these rudderless ice boats are now sleek racing machines for winter sailing thrills.

Faster than the wind and trickier handling than any sailing craft afloat, the South Bay scooter was originally an amphibian. Designed and developed by the United States Coast Guard to hurdle patches of broken ice and to supply units of the Lifesaving Service on Fire Island when those personnel were virtually marooned by floating ice, the scooter was refined and eventually evolved into the sleek racing machine found on Long Island today. Featuring rudderless steering and a flat, shell-type hull, today’s scooter is a highly individualistic vehicle. There are no rigid class restrictions to date—scootermen merely differentiate between big and little boats, depending on the canvas carried overhead. SPORTS AFIELD Boatbuilding’s set of plans, drawn by Jesse and Dave Fishman, may be followed exactly, but are usually used as a general template by experienced boatmen and builders. The scooter's performance is determined by the canvas and the sharpness and placement of the lengthwise runners—the hull is more of a platform used to carry passengers and support the structural components. Designed for competition rather than broken-ice navigation, this hull operates well over the ice, but will not give much performance if dunked in a pothole. She will do 40 to 60 mph over the ice under good wind conditions with the proper handling. Your scooter can be from 13’ to 16’ long, with a beam of 4’ to 6’ conventionally.

6 pages, 4 plate(s)


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